Can You Water Your Indoor Plants With Softened Water?

Are you an avid gardener with a passion for indoor plants? Perhaps you’ve recently installed a water softener in your home and are wondering if it’s safe to use the softened water on your indoor plants. Fear not, dear reader! In this blog post, we’re diving into the scientific research to answer this common question.

Water softeners are a common feature in households, designed to remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium from the water supply. But what about plants, do they benefit or suffer from this process? We’re taking a closer look at the pros and cons of using softened water for your indoor plant care, and providing some possible alternatives.

Join us as we explore the effects of softened water on your beloved indoor plants. Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or a beginner gardener, this post will provide insights to help you care for your indoor plants using the best water source possible.

Deciding to use a softened water with houseplants

While water softeners can have many benefits for household appliances and plumbing systems, using softened water on indoor plants can also have upsides and downsides. Here are some of the main points to consider:


  • Reduced mineral buildup: Water softeners remove minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water supply, which can help prevent limescale buildup on your plant leaves and potting soil.
  • Easier cleaning: Softened water can also make it easier to clean plant pots and watering cans, as it leaves fewer mineral deposits behind.
  • Potentially better for some perennials: Some plants may benefit from the reduction in minerals that softened water provides, especially if they are prone to salt buildup or live in areas with hard water.


  • High sodium content: One of the biggest downsides to using softened water on plants is the high sodium content. Softened water can have up to 100 times more sodium than unsoftened water, which can harm your plants if they are over-exposed.
  • Soil damage: Sodium can damage the soil structure, making it harder for your plants to absorb nutrients and water. This can cause root damage and limit overall plant growth and health.
  • Potential harm to sensitive plants: Some plants are more sensitive to high levels of sodium than others. If you have salt-sensitive plants, like ferns or orchids, using softened water could cause your plants to wilt or develop brown, crispy leaves.

Now let’s explore some alternatives to softened water for indoor plans.

Soft water alternatives

Fortunately there are a few alternatives to using softened water for indoor plant care: tap water, distilled water, and rainwater. While regular tap water might contain some minerals, it generally has a lower sodium content than most softened water. Distilled water is created through a process that removes all minerals and impurities, leaving behind pure H2O, which can be an excellent choice for watering plants, especially for salt-sensitive species. Lastly, collecting rainwater can be a sustainable option for watering indoor plants, and it also provides natural nutrients that might not be present in tap water or other sources.


Hey there! Did you know that rainwater can be a fantastic source of nutrients for your indoor plants? Test your knowledge with this mini-quiz:

Question 1: What essential nutrients can be found in rainwater?

A) Salt and sugar
B) Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus
C) Protein and fiber

Question 2: Why is rainwater slightly acidic?

A) Because it’s contaminated with pollutants
B) Because it dissolves with carbon dioxide in the air
C) Because it’s made with special rain crystals

Fun Fact: Did you know that the biggest raindrops on record were over an inch across? That’s like having a small pancake fall from the sky!

Back to indoor plants: Rainwater is a great way to provide your plants with essential nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Tiny particles in the air also dissolve in rainwater, providing even more goodness for your plants to soak up. Plus, rainwater is slightly acidic, which helps to lower the pH of alkaline soils, making it easier for your plants to absorb these essential nutrients.

But, before collecting rainwater, you need to make sure it’s clean and safe for your plants. Polluted water can harm both your plants and you! So be sure to collect rainwater from a safe source.

So how’d you do on the quiz?

(The answers are B for question 1 and B for question 2. Congrats if you got them right!)